Vote for me: Family Court candidates DeMarche, Zavaglia (Your Letters)

DeMarche: Whole career served children, families

To the Editor:

I write today to introduce myself and to share my qualifications to serve as Onondaga County Family Court Judge.

Born and raised in Central New York, I graduated from Syracuse University College of Law in 1997 with honors. I thereafter accepted employment with Rossi, Murnane, Balzano and Hughes, a general practice law firm in Utica, where I focused on trial work, including family law.

In 2001, I accepted employment with the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, where I served in the Special Victim’s and Homicide Bureaus. It was important and rewarding work as I was able to give a voice to the smallest voices among us by prosecuting crimes against children, crimes of domestic violence, sexually based crimes and violent crimes including homicide. I was especially proud to have successfully prosecuted the first case of predatory sexual assault against a child in Oneida County after its passage into law.

In 2009, my wife Lisa, son Doug Ill, daughter Caroline and I relocated to Syracuse, New York necessitating my leaving the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office.

I then joined the Madison County District Attorney’s Office on a part-time basis where I continued to prosecute sexually based crimes against children, domestic violence and other violent crimes against the person.

That same year I opened my own law practice dedicated to assisting children and families in Family Court. I completed training as an Attorney for the Child and became a member of the Fourth Department Attorney for the Child Program in 2009. For the next 12 years I provided low-cost legal services to hundreds of children in crisis, who themselves and/or their families were involved in litigation in Family, Supreme or Integrated Domestic Violence Court.

After accruing 13 years experience as a trial lawyer handling some of the most difficult cases, in Family and County Courts, I sought to serve our community in a different capacity. In 2010, I successfully ran for Judge in the Town of Cicero. I have served as Judge for the last 13 years and as an Accessible Magistrate since the creation of that role in New York State Courts. In that capacity I have jurisdiction to assist Family Court on specific matters when it is not in session.

In early 2021, the Hon. Christina F. DeJoseph hired me as her Associate Court Attorney where I served as legal advisor to her on any Family Court matter that came before her. Later that same year I became Senior Court Attorney to the Hon. Michele Pirro Bailey in Supreme Court Integrated Domestic Violence Part.

Having been called upon to provide advice and counsel to Family Court Judges and an acting Supreme Court Justice, on a host of matters involving children and families, I decided upon Pirro Bailey’s retirement from the bench in May 2023 to announce my candidacy to succeed her on the Onondaga County Family Court bench.

I have spent my entire career in the service of children and families and my experience will allow me to make an immediate and meaningful impact on the lives of Onondaga County children and families on Day 1.

I would be honored and humbled to have your vote on Nov. 7.

Douglas M. DeMarche Jr., Esq.


Zavaglia: I’ve served every role in Family Court

My name is Joe Zavaglia and I am running for Onondaga County Family Court Judge. My background and experience make me uniquely qualified for this position. I am a first-generation Italian American, born and raised in the Syracuse area and where I raise my two teenage boys.

I graduated from East Syracuse-Minoa High School and then Onondaga Community College. I went on to attend SUNY Binghamton and New England School of Law.

I have over 20 years of legal experience as a Family Court attorney. I began my practice of law in the Onondaga County Attorney’s Office, Family Court Division. As a government lawyer, I represented the Onondaga County Children’s Division (CPS), Probation Department, Support Collection Unit on Family Court cases including, but not limited to, juvenile delinquency, child support, child neglect, child abuse and severe abuse cases.

In 2009, I opened my own law practice and I proudly represented children, indigent assigned and private retained clients. In my law practice, I provided representation to parents, grandparents and any person legally responsible for children when individuals required advocacy on any Family Court and divorce matters. Additionally, I represented children and advocated for their best interests in Family Court and in Supreme Court on divorces.

Further, for the past nine years I have served as the elected village of East Syracuse judge. In addition to my duties as a village Justice, I am also a Qualified Accessible Magistrate where I have emergency Family Court jurisdiction to preside over certain Family Court cases when Family Court is not in session.

In short, I have not only served in every single role that an attorney could in Family Court, but I have also presided over certain Family Court cases as a judge.

I am honored to have been rated “Highly Qualified” by the Onondaga County Bar Association and the CNY Women’s Bar Association. I have also been endorsed by the Onondaga County Veterans Party, the Teamsters Local 317, Ironworkers Local 60, the Communication Workers of America Local 1123, Sheet Metal Workers Local 58 and United Food Commercial Workers District One.

I appreciate all of the support that our community has provided for me and wish to give back to the community. I believe that I can do so on a county level, in light of my extensive Family Court legal experience.

I am humbly asking you for your vote and support in this election, whether you participate in early voting or cast your vote on Nov. 7.

Joe Zavaglia

East Syracuse

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